Running for Pike County Commissioner is somewhat like being on a marathon episode of the reality show Survivor. When things go right, cooperating candidates run in teams of two by political party, sometimes for much longer than a year, in a quest to take the two majority seats on the County Commission. But with four candidates running for three seats, the top three vote getters regardless of party will grab a place at the table on Tuesday, and one candidate will be voted off the island.
Although each voter will only be able to vote for two commissioner candidates when they go to the polls, MilfordNow recommends Steven Guccini, David Ruby and incumbent Matthew Osterberg as the three leaders who should be entrusted to take Pike County into the future.
Our reasons are straight-forward. With the retirement of long-time Commissioner Karl Wagner in January, and incumbent Richard Caridi asking for a fourth term, residents have the first chance in more than a decade to make a significant change to the composition of the board, and by doing so, shake things up in a county that desperately needs it.
The team of Ruby-Guccini represents a fresh take on the governing of a county known for a rigid “business as usual” attitude. They have pledged to adhere to self-imposed term limits of two terms each. They have suggested holding meetings in forgotten locations in Pike, and at hours when residents, other than retirees and those who work in Milford or its immediate environs, can come and be heard. They will also provide an opportunity to re-examine administrative appointments that have come under criticism in the last few years. Solicitorships come immediately to mind.
Osterberg, who has not always been so friendly to the people and businesses in Milford, as evidenced by his attitude when interfacing with the community during the Kenworthy House dust up, could still be a good match to work with two new faces. Further, we don’t believe he and Caridi go on any windy walks together. Additionally, Osterberg’s arrival on the board in 2012 has coincided with the uptick in new businesses coming to Pike County, although we are not nearly as optimistic as he is about the number of family sustaining jobs that they will bring.
Conversely, Rich Caridi’s day has come and gone. He grossly mismanaged the recycling program, and his behind-the-scenes attempt to demolish a historic building in the Borough of Milford underscores his “my way or the highway” type of governance. Although in his first eight years in office, Caridi seemed to stay above the political fray that so often roiled the waters in the Administration Building, his third term has been marred by what appears to be interference in matters where county commissioners have no business going. We refer specifically to the case of Timothy Flaherty, which it seems Caridi attempted to leverage to his personal benefit, while bringing a new level of political nastiness home to roost in Pike County.
On Tuesday, Pike County will have the opportunity to say, “enough,” by voting for David Ruby, Steve Guccini and Matt Osterberg, three men who have already given much to Pike County.
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